Tuesday, June 30, 2015

First, Prevent Child Abuse America has an “A” rating from Charity Watch and three stars from Charity Navigator, with full marks for transparency. You can donate here. I urge you to learn about who they are and what they do so you know exactly what you are supporting. I prefer Children’s Defense Fund, but they are a much broader organization in terms of what they advocate, including work to address children’s poverty and deal with social safety nets.

Additional details pour in on the Adrian Peterson child injury case, and it’s difficult to keep up to date with all of them in one post while also collecting my thoughts or providing information on the mechanics of what the team will do.


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Local Houston news has reported that Adrian Peterson has been indicted for reckless or negligent injury to a child. He has been indicted in Montgomery County by a Grand Jury. Isiah Carey with Fox 26 in Houston reports that the charges stem directly from allegations that Peterson beat his young son (which may be an exaggeration for effect. See updates below) . In that Carey report, Peterson’s lawyer, Rusty Hardin (the same lawyer who represented Roger Clemens and won his acquittal) has confirmed the indictment but nothing more. Phil Grant of the Montgomery County District Attorney says they cannot comment on the case until Peterson is in custody.

Most disturbing:

Once source says there are photos of the child’s injuries now in the possession of investigators with the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office.

Here’s a link to the relevant Texas statute. Jay Glazer of Fox Sports has re-reported it, but I do not know if he is confirming reports or simply restating previous reports.

UPDATE: Per Jay Glazer, Peterson will cooperate with law enforcement and may not be available for the weekend.

UPDATE2: Isiah Carey reports an update on the Grand Jury proceedings. Evidently the Grand Jury “no billed” the Peterson case, meaning there was not enough evidence to indict. When the district attorney presented a second time, the panel accepted the criminal charge.

Further context: Adrian Peterson was inactive yesterday, but only as part of a veteran’s day of rest. He was seen at the beginning and end of practice. Today, he was in the building and was in Winter Park as of two hours ago.

UPDATE3: The Vikings are currently deciding on Peterson’s status for the weekend, per Jay Glazer.

UPDATE4: According to Ian Rapaport, the investigation has been going on for some time. Peterson testified to the Grand Jury weeks ago.

UPDATE5: And Ian also reports that the charges stem from Adrian disciplining his son with a switch.

I… uh… evidently need to clarify that a switch is a thin tree branch. This strongly implies that the story is (because the statute is distinct from intentional injury) a case of going beyond the bounds of the law in disciplining the child. This is not to undersell the point—an indictment implies he went over the top.

CLARIFICATION: Some people are interpreting this statement (I previously used the word overzealousness) to mean that I am ethically OK with corporal punishment for children. That is not the intent, nor the conversation I wish to start or be involved in. The point I am making is that Texas law has distinctions between intentional injury to a child and reckless/negligent injury to a child, and that most forms of corporal punishment do not receive indictments to that effect, regardless of the ethics surrounding corporal punishment.

Which is to say the law would interpret most forms of corporal punishment as not a chargeable offense, but that beyond a certain threshold would be subject to a felony charge. Here, a reckless/negligent injury charge would imply that the act of discipline is not what is under question, but the extent to which he disciplined the child. The legal interpretation of the events would imply that he did not intend to injure the child, but did through his own negligence.

UPDATE6: From Isiah Carey at Fox 26 again:

Brady Fitzgerald with the Montgomery County Sheriff’s office says they investigated Peterson for injury to a child and then turned the case over to the District Attorney to present to a grand jury. However, Fitzgerald says Peterson has not been arrested.

We should also expect a statement from an attorney soon.


We’re told the child returned home to his mother in Minn. who noticed injuries and took the child to a doctor. A short time later, the doctor contacted authorities in Texas to report Adrian.

The alleged victim is an 11-year-old boy, per TMZ (dispute below by a more credible source). TMZ has changed their report to accord with WCCO and CBS and is now reporting the boy is four years old.

UDPATE8: Chris Tomasson reports that ESPN reports Peterson has not been arrested.

UPDATE9: Statement from the Vikings —

The Vikings are in the process of gathering information regarding the legal situation involving Adrian Peterson. At this time, we will defer further questions to Adrian’s attorney Rusty Hardin.

UPDATE10: NFL.com has a story running now. This is their current update based on their investigations:

Lt. Fitzgerald of Montgomery County Texas Police confirmed to NFL Media that they have investigated the case. An unknown police department called the City of Houston Police Department with a complaint of child endangerment, and Houston referred it to the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office where the alleged case occurred.

UPDATE11: Being found guilty of this specific law incurs a prison sentence of 2-10 years, which can be reduced via plea bargain, according to Michael McCann.

UPDATE12: CBS reports have pictures, if you’re inclined to see them, and a few more details. As you’d expect, the pictures are of welts and lacerations.

Sports Radio 610 in Houston obtained a draft of the police report which says Peterson admitted that he did, in his words, “whoop” one of his children last May while the boy was visiting him in Houston.

When the 4-year-old boy returned to Minnesota, his mother took him to a doctor. The police report said the boy told the doctor Peterson had hit him with a branch from a tree.

The doctor told investigators that the boy had a number of lacerations on his thighs, along with bruise-like marks on his lower back and buttocks and cuts on his hand.

The police report says the doctor described some of the marks as open wounds and termed it “child abuse.” Another examiner agreed, calling the cuts “extensive.”

When investigators questioned Peterson, they say he told them he regarded it as a normal spanking and not excessive. A grand jury seated earlier this summer decided not to charge him.

This confirms a few things: that it was his son, the extent of the injuries, and that the question of the case is not whether or not Peterson used a switch on his child, but the extent to which he did and if it exceeds Texas’ threshold for negligent injury.

The biggest discrepancy is the age of the child, which was reported above as 11 years old, which TMZ claims to have received from Child Protective Services, which does not square with the CBS report obtained from Sports Radio 610 in Houston of the drafted police report.

UPDATE13: Rusty Hardin is evidently out of the country, per Ben Volin.

UPDATE14: As McCann continues to clarify, the indictment is not public and the charge may be different than what we’ve been told. This might bring to light two things: 1) why the earlier grand jury no billed Peterson (it could have been a different charge and therefore proof of burden on relevant evidence) or 2) the distinction between neglect, reckless, or intentional infliction of injury. There are a myriad of other complications that might bring up, too.

WCCO has multiple sources that have confirmed this specific charge. We shall see.

UPDATE15: From reddit, a person who claims to be a child abuse detective says the following:

  • The assault/injury to the child occurred some time ago and a report was filed.

  • That report was forwarded to the Grand Jury as a “Grand Jury Referral.” Basically that means that no charges have been filed, but the prosecutor (and possibly a detective) want to present the evidence to a jury and ask them if they believe it is something that someone should be arrested for.

  • The case was presented once, No-Billed (meaning not enough evidence to justify arrest or trial) The prosecutor presented it again. Typically this is only done if there is new evidence to be presented, but prosecutors can be sneaky and resubmit it to the grand jury after a new jury is seated (In my county, the jury is replaced every 3 months)

  • Once this jury true-billed the charge, a warrant was issued for AD and a bond was set by a judge to accompany the warrant.

  • AD and his attorneys more than likely agreed to turn himself in, he’ll post bond immediately and spend zero time in jail outside of the booking/processing

  • This will go to trial or be plead out, but I’d be surprised if it happens during this football season. Typically our cases don’t go to trial for a year or more.

  • Injury to a Child has different felony levels based upon the injuries the child suffered or the circumstances behind the injuries. This one is being reported as Injury to a Child/reckless/negligence. That is what we call a State Jail felony. State Jail Felonies carry a maximum of 2 years in jail and are typically plead out to probation. The weird thing is if this was a case of him “beating” his child it would have likely been filed as Injury to a Child/knowing/intentional which is either a Felony 3 (2-10 years) or a Felony 1 ( (Felony 1 if there is intentional “serious bodily injury or death”) Most of the time the reckless/negligence comes when a parent over-disciplines a child by spanking them with a belt or extension cord leaving pattern bruises and cuts on the child’s body. I would suspect that was the case here.

  • EDIT: There is a Injury to a Child/Negligence/Reckless that is a Felony 2. However that requires serious bodily injury or death that was caused by negligence or reckless behavior. If that were the case here, it probably would have been indicted the first time it was presented. Going to wager this is the state jail felony variety.

Of course all of this is speculation based on the current rumors and my personal job experience.

UPDATE16: Tom Pelissero has the eighteenth confirmation of the charge, but adds the detail that a warrant has been issued for his arrest.

UPDATE17: Rusty Hardin has released a statement (from overseas, evidently), per Chris Tomasson:

Adrian Peterson has been informed that he was indicted by a grand jury in Montgomery County, Texas for Injury to a Child. The charged conduct involves using a switch to spank his son. This indictment follows Adrian’s full cooperation with authorities who have been looking into this matter. Adrian is a loving father who used his judgment as a parent to discipline his son. He used the same kind of discipline with his child that he experienced as a child growing up in East Texas. Adrian has never hidden from what happened. He has cooperated fully with authorities and voluntarily testified before the grand jury for several hours. Adrian will address the charges with the same respect and responsiveness he has brought to this inquiry from its beginning. It is important to remember that Adrian never intended to harm his son and deeply regrets the unintentional injury.

Take that for what you will. It is definitely his son.

UPDATE18: It gets worse. According to CBS Houston:

The beating allegedly resulted in numerous injuries to the child, including cuts and bruises to the child’s back, buttocks, ankles, legs and scrotum, along with defensive wounds to the child’s hands. Peterson then texted the boy’s mother, saying that one wound in particular would make her “mad at me about his leg. I got kinda good wit the tail end of the switch.”

. . .

According to police reports, the child, however, had a slightly different story, telling authorities that “Daddy Peterson hit me on my face.” The child also expressed worry that Peterson would punch him in the face if the child reported the incident to authorities. He also said that he had been hit by a belt and that “there are a lot of belts in Daddy’s closet.” He added that Peterson put leaves in his mouth when he was being hit with the switch while his pants were down. The child told his mother that Peterson “likes belts and switches” and “has a whooping room.”

The CBS Houston story has more alleged texts from Peterson to the mother of the child.

The photographs are worse than you think. Per the reporter of the story, the photographs in that CBS story were taken a week after the incident.

UPDATE19: The Vikings have deactivated Adrian Peterson for Sunday’s game.

UPDATE20: From Jay Glazer:

UPDATE21: Looks like the intuition about the nature of charges and intent are playing a role. Per @StephStradley:

It’s been said that a grand jury will indict a ham sandwich. Yep. But looks like Peterson’s lawyer involved early. Can help pre-indictment.

— Stephanie Stradley (@StephStradley) September 12, 2014


Legally, hardest part of Peterson’s defense will be age of child and negligence/reckless w/ a child that age. That will be prosecution focus

— Stephanie Stradley (@StephStradley) September 12, 2014


Translating my last tweet: Law looks at INTENT to cause bodily injury. Different mental states. This case, “negligent” or “reckless.”

— Stephanie Stradley (@StephStradley) September 12, 2014


Attn: followers of @mikefreemanNFL. Talking law stuff. “Bodily injury” is still serious in TX even if not called “Serious Bodily Injury”

— Stephanie Stradley (@StephStradley) September 12, 2014


State of mind of “reckless”/”negligence” easier to prove w/”serious bodily injury” (death risk/ disability) than “bodily injury” (still bad)

— Stephanie Stradley (@StephStradley) September 12, 2014


Can’t see a plea RT @TxAgSheepdog he has Rusty Hardin. The DAs office might as well try for a deal now bc their gonna get schooled in trial.

— Stephanie Stradley (@StephStradley) September 12, 2014

UPDATE22: More from the CBS story.

In an interview with Houston police, Peterson was very matter-of-fact and calm about the incident, appearing to believe he had done nothing wrong and reiterating how much he cared about his son and only used “whoopings” or “spankings” as a last resort. He offered up information that the police didn’t have and was incredulous when asked if some of the numerous wounds and marks on the child were from an extension cord, saying, “Oh, no, I’d never hit my child with an extension cord. I remember how it feels to get whooped with an extension cord. I’d never do that.”

Peterson also said, “Anytime I spank my kids, I talk to them before, let them know what they did, and of course after.” Peterson also expressed regret that his son did not cry – because then, Peterson said, he would have known that the switch was doing more damage than intended. He didn’t realize the “tip of the switch and the ridges of the switch were wrapping around [the child’s] legs.” Peterson also acknowledged that this was administered directly to the child’s skin and with the child’s pants pulled down.

Peterson later told police that the marks on his son’s buttocks were similar to the marks any of his other children get when he “spanks them with a switch,” but that the mark on the child’s leg from when the switch “wrapped around his thigh” was more severe than anything he had ever done in the past.

After the child returned home to Minnesota in late May, the mother took the son to his previously scheduled doctor appointment  and the doctor that examined the child said the injuries were consistent with child abuse and that it appeared the child had injuries from one incident involving a “switch” and another incident possibly involving a cord.

UPDATE23: The Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office has a statement

On Thursday, September 11, 2014, a Montgomery County Grand Jury, “true billed”, Adrian Lewis Peterson on a charge of injury to a child. On today’s date at 2:47 PM, a warrant was issued and entered for the arrest of Adrian Peterson for that charge.

Since the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office has referred the case to the Montgomery County District Attorney’s Office, and the investigation has led to a, “true bill”, on a criminal offense, the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office will not discuss details in reference to the case or investigation.

At the time of this release, Adrian Peterson is not in custody at the Montgomery County Jail and the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office does not have any details in the arrest of Adrian Peterson.

UPDATE24: Ben Goessling reports that Adrian’s lawyer says Peterson “will surrender” to authorities

UPDAYE25: In what is likely the final update for this specific post, Adrian has turned himself in and is in a Montgomery County jail, per Ryan Parker of the LA Times. He was then released after posting a $15,000 bond per Greg Rosenthal.

UPDATE26: I guess that wasn’t the last detail. Jay Glazer is reporting that the bond was $21,000. Generally the most reliable insider in the business, it might be prudent to go with his amount. The specific details are perhaps irrelevant but it’s good to strive for accuracy, even if in this case the detail doesn’t change much.

More to be summarized here as more information comes in.

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The Minnesota Vikings arguably are facing their first “true” test of the season, what with the St. Louis Rams being discounted by national and local media alike (for national media, somewhat post-hoc) for fairly legitimate reasons.

But the New England Patriots aren’t just a different beast from a talent perspective, they’re entirely different category of schematic obstacle. Not for nothing, the Patriots are known as one of the most creative teams in the NFL on both sides of the ball. From pioneering hybrid fronts to bringing the H-back to the fore, there are significant influences the Patriots have leveraged to the rest of the league, and there are more to come.

Against the Miami Dolphins, the Patriots fell short, especially after an inefficient second half, where they scored zero points. Much has been made of the Patriots’ record after a loss (13-1, according to Zimmer in the last 14 losses and 32-4 since 2003 according to Brian Hall). I don’t think that’s particularly relevant. In that time frame, they’ve gone 138-38, or 78.4%. A 32-4 record is 88.9%, which is what you’d expect is similar to the record a team would have if you eliminated their 38 best opponents.

Instead, the New England Patriots are just very good and there’s not a lot of evidence that we should pay much more attention to the fact that they’ve done better off of losses. The converse of this, of course, is that the Patriots would be worse after a win (75.7%) which is difficult to conceive of as important.

Historically, Mike Zimmer and Norv Turner have done well against New England. Since 2001, Zimmer defenses have met New England offenses three times. In that time, they’ve allowed an average of 18.7 points and had a defensive DVOA of -24.0% (negative defensive DVOAs are good). That DVOA would be the second-best defense of 2013. Further, a recency-adjusted DVOA would be 39.2%, the best in the NFL and 15.8 points allowed. It’s not a large sample size, but it’s encouraging. Though the Mike Zimmer Bengals likely had more proven defensive talent, there’s reason for optimism.

Norv Turner has scored 20 points a game and a recency-adjusted points of 21.1 per game. The offensive DVOA is 3.0%, and recency-adjusted offensive DVOA is 6.5%. Because there are 11 data points, it is slightly more robust. Once outliers are eliminated, the points per game and DVOA rise to 21.9 and 10.8% respectively. Again, there are really not that many data points to draw a real conclusion, though many of Norv Turner’s teams were not as talented—his 2002-2003 Dolphins met the Patriots four times and had fewer weapons and likely a worse quarterback. His 2004-2005 Oakland Raiders were even worse. This may be balanced out by his 2007-2012 Chargers, but including his stints in San Francisco and Cleveland tilts his available talent against him.

Regardless, shallow historical analysis would imply that the Vikings are well equipped to coach against the Patriots, with a 1.3 to 6.9 point advantage in prior meetings. Still, the game isn’t won with history, it’s won with current matchups and coaching, and the Vikings are in a tough spot in that regard.


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If I had my way, each and every one of our writers would soon find themselves with high-paying writing jobs at large, reputable media outlets.  In my eyes, each of them deserve it.

Lindsey Young, whose work caught my eye well before Vikings Territory existed, certainly seems to be on the right path.

Lindsey recently wrote an article for KSTP Channel 5 that couldn’t have come at a better time, as the NFL world has been rocked by the Ray Rice scandal, and we could use a feel-good story or ten to remind us that it isn’t all bad.

Lindsey’s article is everything we’ve grown to expect from her:  Professional, insightful, and thorough.  She dives into the lives of three Minnesota Vikings and gives us some perspective as to how their profession impacts their family life.  The wives of Greg Jennings, Josh Robinson, and Zach Line were each featured.

Here is an excerpt of the article, but to read the rest you are going to have to CLICK HERE.

Football wives are much more than fans. Nicole Jennings explains how wives take the game so much more seriously than the rest of the world. In her mind, it is not about wins and losses or the number of receiving yards beside her husband’s name.

“My overall interest is in making sure he walks off that field the same way he walked on,” Nicole Jennings said. “In my eyes, nothing else matters.”

Of course, no one likes to see an injury, but most do not understand the family’s sideline perspective. NFL players hear more news every year regarding the risk of concussions, their side effects, and, most recently, the long-term consequences associated with an injury prevalent on the football field.


Well done, Lindsey, keep it up.

Brady & Wake

Last week, Nathan Kearns of Ramblin Fan took a stab at answering five questions about the St. Louis Rams before the Vikings came to town.  We appreciated him taking the time to do it, and I think his attempts to predict the future contained lots of great information, but I’d bet he’d like to have his prediction back after the Vikings gave the Rams the horns.

Next up are the storied New England Patriots, but this week’s guest isn’t underestimating the Vikings, especially after the Patriots were upstaged by the Dolphins in Week One.

Morgan Smith of Patriots Gab took time out of her week to answer some questions for us and I think you’ll be plenty interested to get her take on the upcoming game.  Be sure to follow Morgan on Twitter, if only for a little fun trash talking during the rest of this week, by clicking here.

The Dolphins seemed to draw a map for future teams when it comes to overwhelming the offensive line and flustering Tom Brady.  Do you think this will become a pattern with the Vikings up next or was this a one-time fluke?

There is a blueprint against every team, and last week was the blueprint against the Pats. Last year, Cincinnati beat the Pats by doing what Miami did, and the Patriots were just as bad on offense. The blueprint is there, but not every team can execute it and not every team uses it. To beat New England you have to get pressure on Tom Brady, and it has to be constant throughout the game.

The offensive line isn’t the same as it was before when Brady barely got hit, they are allowing more hits on Brady than he’s ever had, so New England has to make some personnel changes on the line before this Sunday, because the Vikings will get to Brady. Maybe add Josh Kline to the line and take out Jordan Devy, and allow Wendell to play more over Marcus Cannon, or Bryan Stork gets to play. They have to figure something out by Sunday because the Vikings had 5 sacks against the Rams, so they can generate pressure.

We will see if Minnesota can execute the blueprint and if New England can adjust.

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